Its brooding appearance is daunting, but this was far from the most grotesque sample of this unusual apple. Others were so deformed as to be unrecognizable as part of any living organism, let alone as an apple.
Instead, the medium-sized sample I chose shows a little of everything: Yellow skin, mottled translucent orange blush, and disfiguring russet. Or perhaps its knobby bulges are not related to the russet at all. Small lenticels, where visible, are mostly russeted.
Where not deformed this apple seems to be modestly ribbed. Its calyx is open and it feels firm and solid. It glowers.
As I contemplate this unusual variety, I wonder: What if this is not just a curiosity? What if it's really good?
Only one way to find out.
The flesh of the aptly named Knobbed Russet is fine-grained and dense, a light yellow. It's not terribly juicy or crisp, but it presents a pleasant sweet-tart balance, lively and a little spicy, but without much specific flavor.
Reach and you may find a little pear with lemon juice, and also a minor savory accent, but this apple is on the bland side and these faint flavors fade. Not unpleasant, but not special either.
Wikipedia says the Knobbed Russet originated in Sussex in 1819, and is also known as Knobby Russet, Winter Russet, and Old Maid's Winter Apple.